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Gannett, Lisa. Echoes From the Cave: Philosophical Conversations Since Plato
2014, Oup Canada.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt
Publisher's Note: Echoes from the Cave: Philosophical Conversations since Plato is an anthology of classic and contemporary readings in philosophy compiled to introduce students to the main problems discussed by philosophers past and present

Comment: This is an anthology of texts on central topics in philosophy, many of which might be suitable for the DRL.

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Goldstein, Rebecca. Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away
2014, Pantheon Books.
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Added by: Jamie Collin
Publisher's Note: Imagine that Plato came to life in the twenty-first century and embarked on a multi-city speaking tour. How would he mediate a debate between a Freudian psychoanalyst and a 'tiger mum' on how to raise the perfect child? How would he handle the host of a right-wing news program who denies there can be morality without religion? What would Plato make of Google, and of the idea that knowledge can be crowdsourced rather than reasoned out by experts? Plato at the Googleplex is acclaimed thinker Rebecca Newberger Goldstein's dazzling investigation of these conundra. With a philosopher's depth and erudition and a novelist's imagination and wit, Goldstein probes the deepest issues confronting us by allowing us to eavesdrop on Plato as he takes on the modern world; it is a stunningly original plunge into the drama of philosophy, revealing its hidden role in today's debates on religion, morality, politics and science.

Comment: Useful in a general intro to philosophy course. This is partcularly suited for a general introduction course because it touches on a number of disparate parts of philosophy, and because it provides arguments for the continued value of philosophy.

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Harte, Verity. Plato on Parts and Wholes: The Metaphysics of Structure
2002, Oxford University Press
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, Contributed by: Quentin Pharr
Publisher’s Note: This book is an examination of Plato's treatment of the relation between a whole and its parts in a group of Plato's later works: the Theaetetus, Parmenides, Sophist, Philebus, and Timaeus. Plato's discussions of part and whole in these texts fall into two distinct groups: a problematic one in which he explores, without endorsing, a model of composition as identity; and another in which he develops an alternative to this rejected model. Each model is concerned with the nature of composition of a whole from its parts, such that a whole is an individual, rather than a mere collection or heap. According to the problematic model of composition, a whole is identical to its many parts, that is, the relation of many parts to one whole is just the relation of identity. This model is shown to have the paradoxical consequence that the same thing(s) is (or are) both one thing and many things, and for this reason, amongst others, it cannot support an adequate account of composition. According to the alternative model of composition, wholes of parts are contentful structures (or, instances of such structures), whose parts get their identity only in the context of the whole they compose. Plato presents the structure of such wholes as the proper objects of Platonic science: essentially irreducible, intelligible, and normative in character.

Comment: This text is perfect for advanced students studying either mereology or ancient philosophical metaphysics. It connects ancient debates on the relations between parts and wholes to modern debates - but, it does not do so at the cost of deviating too much from Plato's texts or the ancient philosophical context. Prior readings of several of Plato's texts are advised, as well as some understanding of recent mereological debates, in order to fully engage with Harte's work.

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Higgins, Kathleen Marie. The Music of Our Lives
1991, Temple University Press.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir
Publisher's Note: Kathleen Higgins argues that the arguments that Plato used to defend the ethical value of music are still applicable today. Music encourages ethically valuable attitudes and behavior, provides practice in skills that are valuable in ethical life, and symbolizes ethical ideals

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

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Nussbaum, Martha, Rosalind Hursthouse. Plato on Commensurability and Desire
1984, Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 58: 55-96.
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Added by: Simon Fokt
Diversifying Syllabi: Plato’s belief in the commensurability of values (shared by modern utilitarians) ultimately “cuts very deep: taken seriously, it will transform our passions as well as our decision-making, giving emotions such as love, fear, grief, and hence the ethical problems that are connected with them, an altogether different character” (56). The upshot is that “certain proposals in ethics and social choice theory that present themselves as innocuous extensions of ordinary belief and practice could actually lead, followed and lived with severity and rigor, to the end of human life as we currently know it” (56).

Comment: The text is useful in teaching ethics, especially as a critique of utilitarianism. It can also be used as a reading in history of philosophy classes focusing on ancient ethics. It is rather long, but can be used in excerpts. The paper is largely reprinted in Nussbaum's Fragility of Goodness.

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Obdrzalek, Suzanne. Moral transformation and the love of beauty in Plato’s symposium
2010, Journal of the History of Philosophy 48(4): 415-444
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Anonymous
Abstract:

This paper defends an intellectualist interpretation of Diotima’s speech in Plato’s Symposium. I argue that Diotima’s purpose, in discussing the lower lovers, is to critique their erōs as aimed at a goal it can never secure, immortality, and as focused on an inferior object, themselves. By contrast, in loving the form of beauty, the philosopher gains a mortal sort of completion; in turning outside of himself, he also ceases to be preoccupied by his own incompleteness.

Comment: On Eros in the Symposium. Would be great in any course that has a unit on this.

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Weiss, Roslyn. Philosophers in the Republic: Plato’s Two Paradigms
2012, Cornell University Press
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, Contributed by: Quentin Pharr
Publisher’s Note: In Plato's Republic, Socrates contends that philosophers make the best rulers because only they behold with their mind's eye the eternal and purely intelligible Forms of the Just, the Noble, and the Good. When, in addition, these men and women are endowed with a vast array of moral, intellectual, and personal virtues and are appropriately educated, surely no one could doubt the wisdom of entrusting to them the governance of cities. Although it is widely—and reasonably—assumed that all the Republic’s philosophers are the same, Roslyn Weiss argues in this boldly original book that the Republic actually contains two distinct and irreconcilable portrayals of the philosopher. According to Weiss, Plato’s two paradigms of the philosopher are the "philosopher by nature" and the "philosopher by design." Philosophers by design, as the allegory of the Cave vividly shows, must be forcibly dragged from the material world of pleasure to the sublime realm of the intellect, and from there back down again to the "Cave" to rule the beautiful city envisioned by Socrates and his interlocutors. Yet philosophers by nature, described earlier in the Republic, are distinguished by their natural yearning to encounter the transcendent realm of pure Forms, as well as by a willingness to serve others—at least under appropriate circumstances. In contrast to both sets of philosophers stands Socrates, who represents a third paradigm, one, however, that is no more than hinted at in the Republic. As a man who not only loves "what is" but is also utterly devoted to the justice of others—even at great personal cost—Socrates surpasses both the philosophers by design and the philosophers by nature. By shedding light on an aspect of the Republic that has escaped notice, Weiss’s new interpretation will challenge Plato scholars to revisit their assumptions about Plato’s moral and political philosophy.

Comment: This text is an excellent companion text or further reading for Plato's Republic. But, for students or educators looking for more information on how Plato conceives of philosophers themselves, Socrates included, this text is essential. It also provides key insights beyond the standard discussion of how philosophers might fit into their broader societies - what roles they might play, how their societies might respond to them, and what obligations Plato thinks philosophers have, depending on what sort of philosopher they are. After reading this text, the various aspects of the allegory of the "cave" should be that much easier to interpret.

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